The curse of the accidental manager

On July 12th, the FT published an article headlined “The UK’s productivity problem: the curse of the ‘accidental manager”, you can find it here – https://www.ft.com/content/b96ce8f2-5dd9-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68.

Are pork pies good for you?

It is somewhat disquieting to read that the “Peter principle”, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle, continues to thrive in UK business.  Our poor productivity performance arises because too many people gain promotion into managerial roles beyond their level of natural competence.  However, in the firm featured in the FT article performance is improving.

It strikes me, however, that simply hanging up figures of Superman (is this unconscious bias by the firm’s leaders?), and doling out pork pies are rather superficial practices.  The only likely outcome of this epicurean approach is hardened arteries.

The firm’s performance growth is due to its managers doing something much more profound, i.e. the way they “serve” their employees, see Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Servant-Leadership-Robert-K-Greenleaf/dp/1576750353/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1531821205&sr=8-3&keywords=robert+greenleaf.

At the simplest level, they should be talking to their employees as equal partners striving for success.  When this is achieved, I hope they’re rewarded with more than cholesterol laden pies!

Continue reading “The curse of the accidental manager”

Leadership Learning Log Case Study 2 ‘Best’ Session: Jerry Chen & Jennifer Yao, Shanghai

The Leadership Learning Log is a journal which evidences learning and skills development. It is not just a diary or record of ‘what you have done’, but more to the point it is a record of what you have learnt, tried and critically reflected upon.

I use the Leadership Learning Log in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme as a tool to follow up the training. I call this ‘Activity 1: Looking Back’. At the end the training I challenge participants to run up to five substantial pre-planned coaching sessions over the following six week period. I ask them to select two of these sessions for self-assessment – the ‘Best’ and the ‘Most Challenging’ – and answer the questions in the Leadership Learning Log for each session. This is their preparation for our first on-to-one coach-the-coach session.

For this article we go back to my friend Allen Tu in Shanghai. Allen is KCGFF Sales Team Leader for Maersk (China) Shipping Co and he attended my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme in 2011. Using my material he kicked off his ‘Buddy’ Coaching programme in 2016 for his direct report sales managers. One of those managers is Jerry Chen who is the senior manager focussing on Electronic key clients. And Jennifer Yao is an account manager reporting in to Jerry.

In this second article about their coaching experience, we look at how Jerry used the Leadership Learning Log self-assessment questions to reflect on his ‘Best’ case coaching session with Jennifer.

Continue reading “Leadership Learning Log Case Study 2 ‘Best’ Session: Jerry Chen & Jennifer Yao, Shanghai”

Leadership Learning Log Case Study 1 ‘Most Challenging’ Session: Jerry Chen & Jennifer Yao, Shanghai

The Leadership Learning Log is a journal which evidences learning and skills development. It is not just a diary or record of ‘what you have done’, but more to the point it is a record of what you have learnt, tried and critically reflected upon.

I use the Leadership Learning Log in my Coaching Master Class (CMC) programme as a tool to follow up the training. I call this ‘Activity 1: Looking Back’. At the end the training I challenge participants to run up to five substantial pre-planned coaching sessions over the following six week period. I ask them to select two of these sessions for self-assessment – the ‘Best’ and the ‘Most Challenging’ – and answer the questions in the Leadership Learning Log for each session. This is their preparation for our first on-to-one coach-the-coach session.

For this article we go back to my friend Allen Tu in Shanghai. Allen is KCGFF Sales Team Leader for Maersk (China) Shipping Co and he attended my Coaching Master Class (CMMC) programme in 2011. Using my material he kicked off his ‘Buddy’ Coaching programme in 2016 for his direct report sales managers. One of those managers is Jerry Chen who is the senior manager focussing on Electronic key clients. And Jennifer Yao is an account manager reporting in to Jerry.

In this first article about their coaching experience, we look at how Jerry used the Leadership Learning Log self-assessment questions to reflect on his ‘Most Challenging’ coaching session with Jennifer.

Continue reading “Leadership Learning Log Case Study 1 ‘Most Challenging’ Session: Jerry Chen & Jennifer Yao, Shanghai”

Taking care of yourself, on the soft side of Leadership

Taking care of yourself is a daily task, same as any other of your daily tasks in your role as a leader. Your team will really see you and not only listen to you and follow instructions. Continue reading “Taking care of yourself, on the soft side of Leadership”

Leadership Interview: Cynthia Li ‘My Coaching Journey’

Cynthia Li, Shanghai

I started working with the Top Team at Maersk Line East China Cluster (PRE) in Shanghai when I visited them in April 2011 to kick off the Coaching Master Class program. Cynthia Li was Customer Service General Manager and starting out on her coaching journey.

Here she reflects on that five year journey. In 2013 Cynthia was promoted and moved from Customer Service to sales as Key Client General Sales Manager. In 2016 Cynthia jumped ship (pun intended) and joined Swire Shipping in Shanghai as Head of Commercial for mainland China and Hong Kong. What has Cynthia learned from her broad experience as a senior leader in the shipping industry? What can we learn from her coaching journey?

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